High Resolution Cervical Auscultation Signal Features Reflect Vertical and Horizontal Displacement of the Hyoid Bone During Swallowing
Millions of people across the globe suffer from swallowing difficulties, known as dysphagia, which can lead to malnutrition, pneumonia, and even death. Swallowing cervical auscultation, which has been suggested as a noninvasive screening method for dysphagia, has not been associated yet with any physical events. In this paper, we have compared the hyoid bone displacement extracted from the videofluoroscopy images of 31 swallows to the signal features extracted from the cervical auscultation recordings captured with a tri-axial accelerometer and a microphone. First, the vertical displacement of the anterior part of the hyoid bone is related to the entropy rate of the superior–inferior swallowing vibrations and to the kurtosis of the swallowing sounds. Second, the vertical displacement of the posterior part of the hyoid bone is related to the bandwidth of the medial–lateral swallowing vibrations. Third, the horizontal displacements of the posterior and anterior parts of the hyoid bone are related to the spectral centroid of the superior–inferior swallowing vibrations and to the peak frequency of the medial–lateral swallowing vibrations, respectively. At last, the airway protection scores and the command characteristics were associated with the vertical and horizontal displacements, respectively, of the posterior part of the hyoid bone. Additional associations between the patients’ characteristics and auscultations’ signals were also observed. The hyoid bone maximal displacement is a cause of swallowing vibrations and sounds. High-resolution cervical auscultation may offer a noninvasive alternative for dysphagia screening and additional diagnostic information.